New NC bill would allow people to carry gun without permit, training

RALEIGH, N.C. — A local state representative wants to make North Carolina a constitutional carry state, which would allow people to carry a gun without a concealed-carry permit.

State Rep. Larry Pittman, (R) Cabarrus County, introduced House Bill 69 Wednesday in the Legislature. It is similar to one that died last year, but could gain more traction with more pro-gun lawmakers in the General Assembly.

[READ: House Bill 69]

"The Second Amendment is the only permit a lawful citizen should need. We are seeking to make the concealed-carry permit optional, keeping the system in place for those who wish to use it, as spelled out in the bill," Pittman said in an email responding to questions from Channel 9.

North Carolina's concealed carry law requires that an applicant first take a safety course. In making the permits optional, gun owners would no longer have to take such a course.

"No training is required for open carry. The simple fact that a gun is concealed does not make it any more dangerous in the hands of a responsible, honest, peaceful citizen," Pittman said.

People would still need to a background check in order to get a gun, but they would not need to take a training class.

The legislation has divided some -- even within the gun-rights community.

Dan Starks, a longtime firearms instructor with Starks Training Institute, expressed concern Thursday over the training aspects.

"I don't have a problem with people carrying guns. I have a problem with people carrying guns who are clueless," Starks said. "Giving people the right and the knowledge and the skills makes us, I think, all safer in the long run."

Larry Hyatt, of Hyatt Gun Shop, said it would allow "good citizens" who want to protect their families to get guns more conveniently, especially a time when some sheriff's offices have a backlog of applications.

"[People] want to carry their gun legally, and they don't want to go through a bunch of hassles," Hyatt said.

If North Carolina makes the move, it would follow a flurry of other states.

According to Grassroots North Carolina, a pro-gun rights group, 11 other states have constitutional carry.

The permits would remain optional to make it easier for permit-holders to travel to other states that have reciprocity with North Carolina -- but still require permits.

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